Can I Get Workers Comp for Psychiatric Conditions or Mental Illness?
Suffering from a psychological or psychiatric illness can often times be more difficult than dealing with a physical injury. Everyone can see a broken leg, or a back brace – and so they understand that you are disabled. But because a mental illness or injury is “invisible” it can be hard for others to “see” or to understand. Often the mentally injured person suffers in silence.
Nowhere does this fact become more apparent than when disabled workers are attempting to collect Workers Compensation for a psychological or psychiatric illness. Because mental conditions are hard to “see” they are hard to document or “prove” to the Workers Comp insurance company. In this article we will discuss some of the legal issues related to collecting Workers Comp for psychological conditions.
Psychiatric injuries fall within 3 Workers Comp categories: Los Angeles Lawyers
(1.) Psychiatric Illness from Physical Injury in Workers Comp Lawyers Los Angeles
The first category of psychiatric injury that qualifies for Workers Compensation is the “pure” or “straight” psychological injury case. These are conditions that are clearly the direct result of an illness or injury caused in the workplace. These psychiatric cases are fairly easy to prove or document, and therefore are fairly straightforward when it comes to obtaining Workers’ Compensation.
An example of this type of injury might be a closed head injury suffered when an employee was hit in the head with a beam or other object at work. Clearly a physical injury directly caused the mental disability.
(2.) Psychiatric Illness from “Violent Act” in Workers Comp Lawyers Los Angeles
The second category of psychiatric injury or illness that may qualify for workers compensation are those that fall under the “catastrophic event” and “violent act” exception. These are cases where a psychiatric injury is covered under Workers Comp because it resulted from a workplace occurrence that was catastrophic or violent in nature. In these cases, even though the injury may not be as may “straightforward” as, for example, a closed head injury they are still “compensable” because of the clearly “violent” circumstances.
A classic example of this would be an employee who witnessed the shooting of a co-worker by another disgruntled employee. Although the employee who witnessed the violence does not have a physical injury from the shooting, the psychological toll of witnessing this falls under the “violent act exception” – and she will likely be able to collect workers compensation for the psychological damage caused by witnessing the shooting. The psychological damage – which may take the form of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression anxiety, or something similar – has a good chance of being covered by Workers Compensation.
(3.) “Indirect” Psychiatric Illness Coverage by Workers Comp Lawyers Los Angeles
The third category of work-related psychological illnesses or injuries are those that are more difficult to identify and document as “directly” caused by the workplace. There are many situations where there is a psychological disorder that was caused by workplace conditions, but that is more difficult to “connect” to the workplace.
For example, a male employee may experience a loss of libido (sex drive) due to low testosterone that resulted from exposure to chemicals at work. Or, a woman may experience irritable bowel syndrome caused by anxiety in the workplace. Another example may be memory loss (or other side effects) resulting from a medication that was taken for a work related injury.
These are all very serious psychological conditions that can substantially impact one’s life. But “connecting” them to the workplace injury can often be challenging for Workers’ Comp applicants.
We Are Los Angeles Workers Compensation Lawyers for Mental Illnesses
Because of this, it is extremely important for workers with psychological or emotional injury or illness to obtain an experienced lawyer to help them process their workers compensation case. Our attorneys can ensure that you see the specialists, such as a neuropsychologists and other doctors, who can assess and properly document your work related psychological or emotional injury or illness.
As attorneys who have been representing the emotionally or psychologically disabled worker for many decades, our firm understands that there is a direct connection between workplace injury, neurology and psychiatry. In other words, physical conditions in the workplace can often lead to emotional or psychological disturbances that seriously impact your life. We believe these psychological disabilities should be compensated for under Workers Compensation along with any physical injuries or illnesses.
If you are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder PTSD, anxiety, sleep deprivation, low testosterone, memory deficit, chronic pain or any other psychological or psychiatric condition as a result of a workplace situation, call us. We will offer you a free consultation to discuss your Workers Compensation options with an experienced lawyer who is familiar with psychological, psychiatric and mental illness and injuries.